Former Gaddafi number two 'defects' to rebels

Ex-PM Abdessalam Jalloud, who fell out of favour with Gaddafi in mid-nineties, flees Tripoli to rebel-held territory.

     Abdel Salam Jalloud's (right) defection is seen as another major blow to Gaddafi [Reuters]


    Muammar Gaddafi's former right-hand man, Abdel Salam Jalloud, has defected to rebel-held territory in Libya's Western Mountains, a rebel spokesman said.

    Jalloud was a member of the junta that staged a 1969 coup bringing Gaddafi to power, and was seen as the North African oil producer state's second in command before falling out of Gaddafi's favour in the 1990s.

    "He is definitely here in Zintan. He is under the control of the military council here," Massoud Ali, a local rebel spokesman, told Reuters on Friday.

    "Commander Jalloud has managed to flee Tripoli with his family and arrived Friday in the town of Zintan," located in rebel-held territory southwest of the capital, another senior rebel said on condition of anonymity.

    Jalloud was prime minister from 1972 to 1977.

    Following his dispute with Gaddafi, he had retired from politics altogether and lived under virtual house arrest.

    He reportedly was stripped of his passport and put under virtual house arrest, following a disagreement with Gaddafi.

    Another blow to Gaddafi

    Jalloud is from the influential Megarha clan and has remained a popular figure in Libya.

    In October 2010, media controlled by Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam had mentioned Jalloud's name as a possible prime minister to lead the fight against corruption.

    Pictures showing Jalloud in the western town of Zintan appeared on rebel Facebook pages. Jalloud did not issue any statements, but rebel spokesman Mahmoud Shammam said he had confirmed the defection on the telephone.

    His defection to the rebellion is another blow to Gaddafi’s regime, which has been hit by several high-profile defections since an uprising began in February in the country's east

    Rebels also said Jalloud could provide valuable information about Gaddafi's inner circle.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    From Cameroon to US-Mexico border: 'We saw corpses along the way'

    'We saw corpses along the way'

    Kombo Yannick is one of the many African asylum seekers braving the longer Latin America route to the US.